This Tuesday, Arizona voters will face a critical decision that could have disastrous consequences for the state: whether to pass Proposition 208, which would impose a nearly billion-dollar tax increase on Arizona while failing to result in the educational improvements its supporters promise.
The initiative would result in at least 124,000 lost jobs over the course of 10 years, as well as at least $120 million in lost state general fund revenues every year. Furthermore, fifty percent of those whose tax rates will be directly targeted will be small business owners—some of the state’s biggest job creators. Goldwater Institute Director of Education Policy Matt Beienburg recently co-authored a Goldwater report showing the economic damage that Prop 208 would cause should it pass.
At the same time, Prop 208 offers no guarantees regarding student performance, nor does it address Arizona’s teacher shortage. Beienburg told the “Conservative Circus with James T. Harris” radio show this past week that the Prop 208 tax hike “will do virtually nothing for students, nothing for teachers, but it will wreak havoc on Arizona’s economy.”
It’s a good question—but it’s one that doesn’t have an answer. We know that taxpayers across the country are spending millions of dollars on private union activities, but the exact dollar amount stretches far higher than anyone can say.
How is that possible? It’s possible because of release time. Under this arrangement, government employees who are also union officials are released from their regular duties to do union work while still drawing full pay and benefits from taxpayers. This past week, the Goldwater Institute released the latest in a series of reports from our National Investigative Journalist Mark Flatten surveying jurisdictions across America and detailing the prevalence of release time from coast to coast. “In jurisdictions that fail to track union release time,” Flatten writes in his new report, “there is no way for the public or policymakers to know how much is being used, how much it costs, and what it is being used for.”
Federal and state administrative agencies write and enforce countless laws without meaningful oversight by elected officials—but fortunately, lawyers and judges have become increasingly skeptical of the power of these agencies, and more willing to resist bureaucratic efforts to expand their power.
Thursday (November 5), the Goldwater Institute will hold a teleforum featuring the American Enterprise Institute’s Peter Wallison, author of Judicial Fortitude: The Last Chance to Rein in the Administrative State, in conversation with Goldwater’s Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur and Director of National Litigation Jon Riches, who authored a recent Goldwater report on state-based solutions to ensure that the administrative state operates within constitutional boundaries at the state level. During the teleforum, they will discuss recent progress in vindicating the rule of law against unaccountable agencies—and discuss the perils and the prospects of the next four years.Click here to learn more and to register for this Thursday’s teleforum—we hope you can join us